Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 4 June 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Ticket to Ride: London

Game: Ticket to Ride: London

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Designer:  Alan R. Moon

Year: 2019

Ticket to Ride: London is a sequel to Ticket to Ride: New York, a small 15 minute version of the classic Ticket to Ride. Like with all Ticket to Ride games, London brings its slight scoring twist, but is really a shrunk down version of the original. Once again, playing Ticket to Ride: London reminds how much I love Ticket to Ride. The pile of expansion maps, as well as multiple base games on our shelves is a testament to that.

What's so exciting about Ticket to Ride: London for us is the power it will have to bring modern gaming to the masses. Imagine yourself as a family in the Tower of London gift shop, picking up a copy, enjoying it and noticing the flyer for its larger cousin Ticket to Ride: Europe. With it's first release at UK Games Expo, it's clear that Asmodee and Days of Wonder know exactly what they're doing with targeting the UK market with this game.


If you are familiar with the standard Ticket to Ride gameplay then you already know most of what you need to know to play Ticket To Ride: London. Instead of plastic trains you have buses and each player has fewer of them. You start with and draw fewer tickets and, since the map is smaller, they tend to be of lower value. Essentially you are getting a 15 minute Ticket to Ride game, but importantly it's not been watered down or made simpler. Otherwise, the main change is the ability to link together the districts, if you have connected all the locations marked with a one at the end of the game you get one point, connect all the fours to get four points etc.

For those who are new to Ticket to Ride, in this game you will be attempting to claim routes along a map of London. You mark out the routes you own with plastic buses in your colour. The game ends when a player has two buses or fewer left in their collection, at which point everyone has 1 final turn to finish the game. Then you will add up the score you have gained for laying routes with the points gained for completing Ticket cards and finally check the points earned for districts, the player with the most points wins.

Players will take turns doing 1 of 3 actions: The first action is to take two ticket cards and optionally discard one. Tickets give you end game scoring for connecting 2 locations on the map. You can connect these locations by any route, no matter how bizarre, but at the end of the game if you haven't connected them then you will lose those points instead, so don't take more than you can achieve! The second action is to collect transportation cards. At all times there will be a market of 5 of these face up and you can either take 2 face up cards, take 2 'blind' from the top of the deck or take 1 of each. Every now and then you will find the wildcards which are every colour, and if you take one of these that is face up then you cannot take a second card, but if you draw one from the top of the deck then you can still take a second card! The final action is to claim a route, to do this you must discard from your hand a number of matching coloured cards as required by the route on the map. The routes on the map vary from 1-4 spaces long and can be grey (meaning any colour can be used) or any of the 6 different colours in the game. Each route in the game can only be claimed once (though at higher player counts some double routes open up) which adds an element of predicting where your opponent wants to go and blocking them, or having to navigate around where your opponents are!

Amy’s Final Thoughts

As someone who works in a Board Game Cafe in the UK it has been a constant frustration that the Ticket to Ride UK map expansion is one of the more complicated variants of Ticket to Ride. Customers were keen to play the game that represented their country, only to get confused by what was going on with the technology trees and restrictions on building routes. So It's fair to say I was extremely excited to see a quick, light Ticket to Ride featuring London. And for those customers who are looking for the quintessentially British Ticket to Ride then they need look no further. This game is a celebration of Britain, from 3 players being red, white and blue and the score counters having Union Jacks on the top of them to the cards featuring famous British cars or even the iconic yellow submarine.

Ticket to Ride: London plays exactly how you want a 15 minute Ticket to Ride to play, the core gameplay is almost identical to the original game, though the numbers of tickets did need a minor adjustment, and there is even the typical scoring variation for this version in the local routes. If you were looking for a huge change to the existing formula then you will be disappointed, but the minor tweak included is enough to make the game fresh and give you something extra to reach for.

I do have some concerns about how many times I would want to play Ticket to Ride: London. The small map means that you will likely be seeing the same tickets appearing semi-regularly which may start to feel same-ish. But that isn't what Ticket to Ride: London is for. Instead it has two distinct uses: firstly as a filler game, a role in which it excels, with a very consistent play time combined with a good amount of choices to be made during gameplay. Secondly it exists as a teaching game to introduce to younger players or players not familiar with modern tabletop games. Once again in this role it excels, being easy to teach and full of charm.

Fi’s Final Thoughts

I might be a little bit addicted to Ticket to Ride: London. I really do love the mechanisms of Ticket to Ride, and playing with London is almost as fast as playing a game on the app. (Something I do very frequently to hone my skills.) With a limited number of buses to play with, you just have to be very cautious that you don't overface yourself with more ticket cards than you can handle.
The districts are a great addition of a new strategy for scoring points. When your ticket cards are only worth an average of about 5 points each, connecting up the 5 value district with the long, high value, routes that entails can be a fantastic source of points. I've not seen such a different strategy since Ticket to Ride: Germany with its passengers. The new scoring mechanism can actually work out to be very mean. If you see someone has almost finished connecting the fours or the fives, you can very easily jump in and deny them quite a chunk of end game points. On the small map, there's also not too many alternative routes, so a four player game also becomes really tight and crowded. In a fifteen minute game, that level of mean shouldn't really bother anyone though. It's very easy to turnaround and start a new game.

Speaking as a daily London commuter, let's not forget that public transportation in London is far from the glamorous picture painted here, but the 60s feel on the cover, the transportation cards and the map really do paint a fantastic picture for a lively and flavour filled game. I can absolutely see this one flying off shelves for board game stores, board game cafes and tourist destinations around London.

Whilst I would still prefer to play a larger Ticket to Ride, such as the UK map or Germany, I'm also really happy to grab London off the shelf to fill a quick 15 minutes. It packs in more for me than many other alternatives that play in the same time frame and gives me the warm fuzzly feeling of Ticket to Ride as well as the nostalgia for classic cars and The Beatles!

You Might Like...
  • 15 minutes might be the perfect length of time to introduce a young audience to the great mechanisms of Ticket to Ride.
  • The artwork really brings a lot of charm and nostalgia to this version.
  • The district scoring brings a new dimension that allows for a new strategy and lots of player interaction and blocking opportunities.
You Might Not Like...
  • It's a light game that plays in only 15 minutes and doesn't have a whole lot of depth to keep regular players interested.
  • With such a short game, you're more likely to fall victim to a bad draw from the ticket deck, or someone like Fi who draws perfect tickets every time.

The Verdict
7.5/10 While Ticket to Ride: London might not have enough meat on it for all gamers, it's so short and easy to play that it's quite addictive. Out of the two small Ticket to Ride games we prefer London and are looking forward to squeezing in games whenever possible. As an entry point into the hobby as a souvenir gift, it simply can't be faulted and we really hope that it opens doors into our fantastic hobby!

Ticket to Ride: London was a review copy kindly provided to us by Days of Wonder and Asmodee UK.

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